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ITU Adopts NTIA Software as Global Standard for Coordinating Spectrum Sharing

May 29, 2019 by Keith Gremban, Director of the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has adopted NTIA software as the global standard to optimize radiofrequency (RF) spectrum sharing between air and ground systems across a broad range of frequencies. The software was released earlier this month and is available on NTIA's Github page.

Software standards are a foundational tool for work to enable spectrum sharing, which is playing a key role in helping meet the demand for more airwave capacity as the U.S. advances development of 5G wireless networks and other emerging technologies. Scientists and engineers must be able to accurately calculate radio signal performance under various conditions, and from there build models to protect against interference when two users share the same spectrum.

The ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) oversees global coordination and management of radio-frequency spectrum resource use. The ITU-R adopted NTIA’s P.528 reference software implementation, a method for computing propagation loss for air-to-ground signal paths in the frequency range from 125 MHz to 15,500 MHz.

The P.528 software is critical to a number of important use cases. For example, it is used to investigate coexistence of proposed commercial Advance Wireless Services (AWS)-3 with existing air and space satellites assets.  The software also is being used to assess feasibility of spectrum sharing in the 3.45 to 3.55 GHz band, which is under study for sharing with military radars.

NTIA is a global leader in propagation modeling through technically rigorous solutions. Ensuring the quality of technical engineering studies for optimizing spectrum sharing will help improve frequency management and reuse, ensuring both national and international organizations can more accurately perform planning and coordination activities.